Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 29, pp 28864–28874 | Cite as

Synergetic effect of hydrochar on the transport of anatase titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the presence of phosphate in saturated quartz sand

  • Xueying Cheng
  • Nan XuEmail author
  • Xinxing Huangfu
  • Xing Zhou
  • Mo Zhang
Research Article


The rapid development of nanomaterials has led to the unavoidable leakage and release of nanoparticles (NPs) into soil and the underlying groundwater. It is possible for chars and phosphate introduced into soil to improve crop soil properties by improving contact with NPs. In this study, the influences of hydrochar and/or phosphate on the anatase nTiO2 transport behaviors were investigated under different conditions. The breakthrough curves (BTCs) and retention profiles were obtained by the saturated sand column experiments. The additional analysis of zeta potentials, sedimentation kinetics, Raman mapping, and the two-site kinetic attachment model (TSKAM) was conducted to explore the possible underlying mechanisms. The simultaneous presence of phosphate and hydrochar acted in a synergetic fashion to enhance the transport of nTiO2 in a sand medium compared to the facilitated effect of single phosphate or hydrochar. The higher levels of hydrochar induce the more nTiO2 in the high IC solution passing through the saturated sand columns in the co-presence of phosphate. It was attributed to the competitive adsorption of hydrochar with nTiO2 to the sand site and the phosphate adsorption on nTiO2 occurred simultaneously through the sand columns. The fitting results of BTCs using TSKAM showed that the value of k2 for nTiO2 (the irreversible attachment coefficient at site 2) was smaller than that of k1d/k1 (the first-order reversible detachment and attachment coefficient at site 1, respectively), suggesting irreversible retention of anatase nTiO2 at site 1. The value of k1d/k1 could be better used to explain the retention of nTiO2 with combined phosphate and hydrochar. This study provides insight into the implications of phosphate and/or hydrochar for nTiO2 transport in crop soil environments.

Graphical abstract


Hydrochar Anatase nTiO2 Transport Retention Phosphate 



The authors would also like to acknowledge the support from the Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Technology and Material for Water Treatment, and Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD).

Funding information

This work has been financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation (NSF) of China (grant Nos. 21377090 and 21777110).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_2795_MOESM1_ESM.docx (256 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 256 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xueying Cheng
    • 1
  • Nan Xu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xinxing Huangfu
    • 1
  • Xing Zhou
    • 1
  • Mo Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Environmental Functional Materials, School of Chemistry Biology and Material EngineeringSuzhou University of Science and TechnologySuzhouChina

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